The Headlines: You Can Now Attend a Citizenship Ceremony on a Date Other Than Invasion Day

The entrée to the weekend is here. This means it’s less than 24 hours before we can all spend two days in bed, devouring tubs of Neapolitan ice cream, and fantasising about actually doing our laundry. 

No? Just me? Cool.

However, before we can dive into our weekends, Friday has given us a whack of important news stories. Here are some of the day’s biggest headlines.

Why Citizenship Ceremony Rules Are Changing

For many folks, January 26 is a rough-as-guts day. This is because, on this date in 1788, the First Fleet arrived on the shores of the Eora Nation. 

What followed wasn’t a cultural exchange between Europeans and First Nations peoples. Instead, a brutal invasion took place. An attempted genocide of First Nations peoples took place. 

However, since 2019, January 26 was the only day someone could attend an Australian citizenship ceremony. But that’s all changing now. The Labor Government is making it so that these ceremonies can take place three days before or after January 26.

It’s worth noting that Labor is not doing this to reform said date. January 26 has been designated as Australia Day for a hot minute now and the government has no plans on changing that. Instead, Labor’s doing this for pragmatic reasons. 

As the Immigration Minister, Andrew Giles, said, “The government’s priority is to ensure that, where people have made the choice to become Australian citizens, they are afforded that opportunity in their own communities, with friends and family, in a timely way.”

Therefore, while this change is a mint one, the Federal Government won’t be classifying January 26 as Invasion Day anytime soon. 

The Federal Government’s Energy Bill Has Passed

Yesterday, a special sitting of the Federal Government took place. This shindig was called by the Labor party, as they wanted to pass an energy price legislation before 2023 kicks off. Which is exactly what happened. 

The Federal Government has now temporarily capped gas prices to be $12 per gigajoule and will cover $1.5 billion worth of power bills for some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, isn’t a fan of this idea and didn’t vote for it. He called the government’s process of making this legislation “shambolic” and said, “this plane is still being built mid-air.”

However, our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has defended this plan and said that it’ll change the lives of everyday Australians during a super difficult time. 

“There’s been an invasion of Ukraine by Russia that has led to a massive spike in global prices, it’s led to a massive increase in global inflation. Now, countries around the world are having to deal with this,” said Albanese. 

“In the United Kingdom, the Conservative Government there has brought in, essentially, a super profits tax that they are then using to rebate households and businesses in the energy sector. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.”

Albanese also said, “The idea that we could just sit back and do nothing, which is what the Opposition wanted us to do, is irresponsible. That would have seen manufacturers and households be hit.”

Related: Why the Federal Government Is Capping Gas Prices

Related: Live in NSW? You Can Save $9,000 on Your Energy Bills

Kerbside Soft Plastics Collection is Happening

In a bit of swell news, the small Victorian town of Romsey is trialling a new soft plastics recycling program, and it’s being embraced by some of its residents. 

Every fortnight, these townies can put their used soft plastics in an orange bag and then place this bag in their classic yellow recycling bins. 

“It’s so easy,” said Valerie Stannard, a Romsey resident of almost 70 years. 

“We’ve got to leave a legacy to the kids. If we don’t do something now, we won’t have anything to leave.”

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